Season 6 Episode 10

Death House

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Dec 09, 2009 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
195 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

As a consequence of a 911 call, Mac and the team find themselves in a vacant penthouse. However, they discover something else that takes the case into a different direction. Now they have to not only find the caller but also solve the mystery of an unearthed 100 year old corpse as they navigate their way through a booby-trapped house.moreless

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  • What was that?!

    My husband and I did not like this episode too much. NY is my favorite CSI, but not this episode. It took so long for the investigators to find the 2 "captives" that I can't believe they just stumbled into those traps. Maybe the realtor would have if he was having a really good look around and accidentally opened that chamber through the back of the closet and then went in only to get trapped. But it took Mac & Stella so long to figure out the riddle of the water room that there is no way the girlfriend could have just stumbled into that.moreless
  • A 911 call is made from a penthouse that has been sealed for decades. When Mac and the team arrives they find the mummified body of a man who died a century ago(!). However, the person who placed the 911 call is nowhere to be found.moreless

    Where do I start? I am not sure what to think of this episode. I will admit it did keep me hooked until the end to see where it would go, but I was not entirely satisifed at the end. When it was over I asked myself how did the woman get trapped in the first place? Why that was never explained is very strange. Every other trap in the penthouse was explained, why not that one? The writers of this episode are obviously familiar with the "Saw" movies. I hope that the show goes back to more conventional stories.moreless
  • Interesting and cool.

    This was alot different than what I'm used to from CSI:NY, but I actually liked it. I liked how they had puzzles, and the fact that they didn't figure it out right away otherwise it would have been just another boring episode. It was more like an adventure than a crime show, which is kind of a nice break from all the CSI stuff. It was really creative and it kept me watching till the end. I freaked when Hawkes got trapped in that oven thing, but he ended up getting out of there just fine. I think that this episode is one of the better ones of season six and I loved the creativity and the fact that it wasn't just another episode based around CSI stuff.moreless
  • CSI: NY episode 610 "Death House" is a cool and different departure from the standard CSI model. House full of death traps that they must solve through adventure game like puzzlesmoreless

    CSI: NY episode 610 "Death House" is a cool and different departure from the standard CSI model.

    House full of death traps that they must solve through adventure game like puzzles; Slider puzzle, "find the differences", invisible ink, riddles and clocks. Just wish they'd stayed to find the rest..

    Obvious hints to the adventure game formula, was almost like watching a real, life adventure game, and it's clear the directors/writers had a lot of fun thinking up puzzles and hints.

    As the others, I wish they'd explained how she ended up inside the wall.

    Too bad the guy it was built for died on the first trap. Must have been vexing, use two years and loads of money building the ultimate death trap/IQ test, only to have your target die right after entering...moreless
  • *** Spoiler-free *** Captivating, enigmatic and deadly story ; Gary Sinise's convincing performance ; plenty of creative, smart and well executed ideas

    As a fan of puzzles and dark productions I couldn't resist this episode. A lethal screenshot and its story about a booby trapped penthouse really intrigued me. In fact it instantly reminded me of the film Cube by Vincenzo Natali. Of course I didn't expected it to be as fascinating and as I had never seen CSI: NY before I really didn't know if Death House's 43 minutes would worth it. Now that I have seen it I strongly recommend it. I played some titles from the Myst video game series and all the mind games the characters had to solve felt like watching them playing. At first I was a bit skeptical because it looked like an other episodic cop show but the minutes passed and I quickly understood CSI: NY was special.

    First Gary Sinise plays Mac Taylor, the male protagonist, and as expected his acting was good and his character interesting. In fact like many people I only remembered him as Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump so in some way he also convinced me to watch the episode. However I couldn't relate to the other characters as I had never seen the performers before. His female partner was supportive, contributed to make the action scarier and even said something quite funny about "ladies first". So they worked well together even if I wasn't thrilled by them. But it's probably because I knew nothing about them. As for the others I found the "geek chicken" quite annoying, worst he reminded of Topher from Dollhouse. But in general many team members helped so in the end all their skills served the mission.

    Beside the protagonists I also enjoyed the creativity. I'm familiar with game design and found some traps quite original. It's definitely an episode you'll want to watch again. The other surprising element was the wise use of high-end technology to solve the case. It wasn't just to woo us and most items served a purpose : 3D scanner to identify a victim from its head, mobile phones to capture a room and compare it to a painting… As for the story it was quite intriguing, very surprising and the scenes dynamic was well balanced. At some point I even wanted it to never end, hoping they would find an other clue or mystery. Moreover the penthouse was well designed and it felt like the story could loop and reinvent itself everytime, like in the film Groundhog Day for example. The puzzling writing even reminded me of the novels trilogy Les Fourmis (The Ants) by Bernard Werber. Last but not least the action got really intense when the story reached its climax. So even if it wasn't as frightening and twisted as I hoped it would be, it should be enough to appeal most viewers, even the most expectative ones.

    To sum things up, watch it or die hard. Because one day you might just end up like the century-old corpse they found at the beginning, naively following a psycho-Penthouse Pet in her lair, and wished you had followed this very advice.moreless
Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise

Detective Mack 'Mac' Taylor

Melina Kanakaredes

Melina Kanakaredes

Detective Stella Bonasera

Carmine Giovinazzo

Carmine Giovinazzo

Danny Messer

Anna Belknap

Anna Belknap

Lindsay Monroe

Robert Joy

Robert Joy

Dr. Sid Hammerback

A.J. Buckley

A.J. Buckley

Adam Ross

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Goof: There is a location error. The address of the house where the action takes place is 2405 Central Park West, east penthouse, 25th floor. The aerial shots seem to indicate that the penthouse is in a handsome green/copper roofed building. However, that building is The Pierre which is located on Fifth Avenue.

    • Haylen Becall has been selected by the FBI personnel office to work for them. She is, apparently, leaving the CSI lab.

    • Goof: The picture that Stella takes with her phone is not the same as the one that shows on her screen later on.

    • Goof: When Richard Lawson is found in the 'oven', Stella says that they don't have much information to identify the corpse other than what's stated in his driving license. However, early on in the episode, Danny was seen checking out Lawson's record in the NYS Criminal History Information database, which contained accurate physical data.

    • Adam has a major in Geology.

    • Goof: When Walter Jones falls dead to the ground, his left leg is flexed in a different way than the one of the mummy.

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Flack: Hey, guys. I figured out how our dead man called 911 (Leads Mac and Stella to the broken skylight)
      Mac: Someone broke in, and we're just finding this?
      Flack: My guys swear this room wasn't even here on the first go-round.

    • Mac: Who calls 911, asks for help, says they're dying and then cuts out before help can arrive?
      Stella: Maybe our caller broke in, saw the body, made the anonymous call to lead us to the vic and then took off.
      Flack: So he pulls a b and e to rob the place, then turns good Samaritan? I'll remember to thank him before I toss his ass in jail.
      Stella: I don't think burglary was the motive. This place is full of antiques. He could have picked it clean.
      Mac: Whoever broke in was here for something else.

    • Deborah Martin: Deborah Martin, FBI Personnel Office. I was cleared by Detective Mac Taylor and I'm here observing the lab, procedures, work environment. We're actually considering someone from this facility for our own lab.
      Adam: Someone from here is moving to the FBI?
      Deborah Martin: Mm-hmm.
      Adam: Wow. That's a big deal.
      Deborah Martin: Yes, it is.
      Adam: (Chuckles) It's Jake, isn't it? It's Jake. I mean, he's such a... sorry, did I cross the line? Jake and I, we just, you know, applied at the same time together and, I... I mean, he is...
      Deborah Martin: Actually, it's Haylen Becall.
      Adam: Wow. Really?

    • Sid: Did you know that between 400 and 1400 A.D. there was a common belief that mummia was a potent medicine with curative powers? People used to grind up mummy parts and put them on their bodies to get well when they were sick.
      Stella: Mmm, 'take two milligrams of mummy and call me in the morning'.
      Sid: (Laughs) Something like that.
      Mac: Sid, I thought you had hobbies outside of work.
      Sid: I take it my interest in the history of my profession and the fascinating world of the post-mortem does not strike you as an... enjoyable pastime?
      Mac: Let's take him to a Jets game this weekend.

    • Danny: Jones put up seed money for Harding's invention business, but it sounds like their deal eventually went sour 'cause Harding filed a suit in 1923 for patent infringement but it was dismissed. Jones comes up missing shortly after.
      Mac: Sam Harding had motive to make that happen. Harding thought Jones stabbed him in the back and when he didn't win in court, he got revenge.
      Danny: We just solved an 86-year-old murder. Not bad for a half a day's work.
      Mac: Well, it gives us the rest of the day to tackle the remaining unanswered questions: who broke into the penthouse? And who made the 911 call?

    • Mac: (About Richard Lawson) If this guy's a successful real estate agent, what's he doing breaking into Sam Harding's penthouse?
      Stella: Well, before he died, Harding set up a trust to take care of his home, keep it empty after his death. Nobody was allowed to go inside, not even the building's super or maintenance man.
      Mac: He wanted to hide the fact that he murdered Walter Jones and left him there to rot.
      Stella: His secret and Jones's body would've remained undiscovered, except this week the rule against perpetuities went into effect.
      Mac: That stops dead people from owning property forever.
      Stella: Right. Which means the penthouse was just about to be put up for auction by the state.

    • Stella: We can't find Richard Lawson.
      Danny: Have you tried the penthouse?
      Mac: Flack searched the place twice.
      Danny: Well, no disrespect to Donnie boy you might want to try again. When I processed the static lifts from the ceiling, I found footprints with directionality. All right, now, all of them were moving into the room, nothing coming out. So nobody went back up that rope.
      Stella: Flack said that the front door was bolted from the inside when he responded to the 911 call. Lawson didn't use that door when he left.
      Mac: Has to be another way out.
      Danny: Or not.

    • Flack: Power's back on.
      Stella: Well, that took long enough.
      Flack: Guess the switch was in Jersey.

    • Mac: Richard Lawson's got to be in this penthouse. There was no evidence suggesting he ever got out of here.
      Stella: Do we rule out vanishing into thin air?

    • Mac: There's concrete behind this plaster. It's pretty damn thick.
      Stella: Why would you have cement interior walls on the 25th floor of a New York city penthouse?
      Mac: There may be hidden passages between these rooms.

    • Mac: This whole house is a murder weapon.

    • Mac: It's a giant slide puzzle that's already been solved.
      Stella: And the reward for putting the last piece of the puzzle... is to be impaled by a swinging bed of knives.

    • Mac: Sam Harding was an inventor. This room, maybe this entire penthouse was his greatest creation.
      Flack: Okay. Knowing that, how do we find Richard Lawson?
      Mac: We play Sam Harding's game.
      Stella: Things just got a lot more difficult.
      Mac: And a lot more dangerous.

    • Adam: (Visibly upset because Haylen got the job with the FBI) I... I'm sorry, Mac. I'm just kind of off my game today.

    • Mac: I need an updated floor plan. Find out if one exists.
      Adam: I'm on it, boss.
      Danny: Are you? What's wrong with you?
      Adam: (Still upset because Haylen got the job with the FBI) No, I... I... I'm fine.

    • Stella: (To Mac, after a trick reveals a passage leading to a new room inside the house) I'll shoot you if you say 'ladies first'.

    • Danny: So Adam's got his boxers all in a twist because Haylen's getting a job with the FBI.
      Hawkes: Yeah? Good for her. And why does Adam care anyway? Didn't he think she was after his job?
      Danny: I think he had a little crush on her.

    • Hawkes: It's an old phonograph cylinder. One of the original mediums for reproducing and recording sound.
      Danny: Wow, it's kind of like the first iPod.

    • Stella: How did he get in here without playing musical furniture? We had to rearrange that entire room before the door opened.

    • Flack: I'm here with a downstairs tenant who's complaining about a water leak coming from above her.
      Mac: A leak? The water's been shut off in that penthouse for years.
      Flack: All right, I'll look into it.
      Mac: Death by knife, death by fire... if Paula Davis is up there, she's drowning.

    • Adam: Listen, for what it's worth, erm... Haylen is really great, really competent, really smart. And... erm, I mean, I didn't know her that well, but I just know she's the type of person that's meant to work in that field. She's smart and talented...
      Deborah Martin: And you're really happy she's leaving because she was threatening your job.
      Adam: What? No, no. Who... who told you that? Was it Jake?
      Deborah Martin: Everyone.
      Adam: That is so not true. Me? Threatened? Please. Wait. (Elevator doors close and Deborah leaves) How... how many people said that? Whatever.

    • Sam Harding: (In his recorded message to Walter Jones) A sad painful song. A song of lies and betrayal, heartbreaking. But a song can only make you feel so much. It's no substitute for real suffering. That's why I invited you to my home. Everything I worked for, you stole it and sold it to the highest bidder and kept the money. My money. Then you bought off the judge and made me look like a liar. So while you made millions, I invested my unrewarded ingenuity and hard work into making this place a lesson in pain, lies and betrayal. You may be smart enough to steal my inventions but let us see if you are smart enough to survive them.

  • NOTES (6)


    • Flack: So he pulls a b and e to rob the place, then turns good Samaritan?

      The Parable of the Good Samaritan appears in the Gospel of Luke (one of the canonical gospels in the Holy Bible) and it illustrates that human kindness and fellow feeling must be available to all.

    • Mac: Flack, you said on the first search of the apartment no one found the utility room?
      Flack: Yep. It's like it just popped up out of nowhere.(Hums the theme to The Twilight Zone)

      The Twilight Zone, created by Rod Serling, is an American tv show that depicts a mixture of fantasy, science fiction, horror and suspense.